A Brighter Future for Maasai Children
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A Brighter Future for Maasai Children

Grand Circle Foundation announces a new partnership outside Tarangire National Park

Centuries ago, the legendary Maasai tribe of Tanzania practiced a completely nomadic lifestyle, moving their cattle constantly through the plains in search of greener pastures. But in recent history, the modern concepts of land ownership and government regulations have relegated the Maasai to a small corner of their once-endless territory. As a result, more and more of Tanzania's Maasai are settling in permanent villages, called bomas, where they retain the social and ceremonial traditions of their culture while making necessary adaptations to live peacefully in modern society.

One such adaptation is the education of their children. Today's young Maasai are increasingly given the opportunity to go to school, providing them with the skills they need to someday seek employment outside of the boma (if they so choose). On the outskirts of Tarangire National Park, the Tarangire Primary School serves 600 children from neighboring bomas, up from just 100 when it first opened in 1973. One of these bomas is supported by Grand Circle Foundation's Day in the Life program, which brings travelers to the boma to experience Maasai culture. In looking for a way to support the village, it came to our attention that Tarangire Primary School is woefully under-funded—the government provides just $3 per student each year, which doesn't come close to covering even the basic costs of uniforms and workbooks. We are pleased to announce that Tarangire Primary School is the Foundation's newest partner in Tanzania.

We are working with the headmaster, Stanley, to determine how a grant from the Foundation could have the greatest impact. According to Stanley, improving the teachers' housing is of dire importance, as insufficient housing prevents the government from assigning new teachers. Currently, there are just nine teachers for 600 students. Other needs include desks, which are currently shared by three or four students; textbooks; and office space. Stanley's dream is to see 100% of his students pass the exam to continue on to secondary school. In 2011, while every student who took the exam passed it, only 36 children out of 600 elected to do so.

We are confident that under Stanley's leadership, support from Grand Circle Foundation will make a huge difference in the lives of these students. To receive updates on our progress, please sign up for our e-newsletter.

Featured in our August 2011 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.